Bush Restoration: Permaculture Zone 5

It’s been two years since we fenced off and started planting the stream and remnant wetland on our farm to native species, with 2,000 plants in the ground thanks largely to Horizons Regional Council, our farm interns, and local schools.

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Before fencing and planting the stream was in rough shape. Our stock was grazing up to the water line and putting pressure on the banks.

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This is a photo of the day after the 2015 floods showing the culvert just below a bend in Purua Stream. The water overtopped the culvert by almost half a metre.

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This is a photo of the same area this month. Note the two large willow trees in each photo.

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We have dedicated this area, which is used for outdoor education with children, to Dr. Chris Cresswell who helped plant trees here two years ago. We call the area “Chris Cressant” because of the bend in the stream.

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This week we found a giant kokopu living in the pool underneath the culvert. Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 5.57.07 am

In June we found an eel just upstream of the culvert, which appears to indicate that the concrete rubble ‘fish ladder’ we built has been effective at allowing aquatic species to get through the formerly ‘perched culvert’ and upstream to the restored wetland.

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Horizons is back again arranging more school plantings along Purua Stream on our farm and hopefully other land owners will do the same. What a difference it will make for everyone living downstream, which includes much of the Whanganui community.

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To get your school involved contact Horizons Regional Council or contact us at Kaitiaki Farm, www.theecoschool.net

Peace, Estwing

Drainage Around the Home

When asked at 3 years of age, “What is Dada good at?” my daughter answered, “Digging!”

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Both before and after the Whanganui floods of 2015 I have focused on drainage on the farm and especially around the house where pretty much everything had been done wrong – causing a lot of water to flow underneath leading to serious damage over the last three decades.

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Managing water can be done well or can be done poorly. I took this photo at work one day.

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It is important to direct water away from homes. Retrofitting drainage where it has been done poorly can be difficult and expensive. Along with a number of other approaches – including cutting channels in concrete – I put in a French drain on the high-side (South) of the house.

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Ironically I finished the drain two days before the 2015 floods.

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The perforated pipe runs the length of the south wall.

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It’s surrounded by stone and wrapped with filter cloth.

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Water flows through the stone and into the pipe.

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Stone covers the filter cloth to keep it tidy and out of the sun.

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At the southwest corner the perforated pipe enters a sump and then flows under the entire home on a gentle slope through a solid pipe to the north side, and then away from the structure.

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Any amount of drainage that directs water away from a home is important!

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Peace, Estwing